Letters to Luthien

Letters to My Future Bride

Asylum of Solitude

Weeping Knight

Solitude
Ella Wheeler Wilcox

Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone;
For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air;
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go;
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all,—
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a large and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain.

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July 5, 2014 Posted by | Loneliness, Poems | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Needs and Wants

Dear Darling,

I’m back home again. Alegfast won’t be back for another week, so I have the house to myself. I walk through the door, suddenly finding it interesting to realize that home can now be in more than one place. I should have turned off the heat before I left; it’s comfortably warm in here and I haven’t been home in three days. I deposit my gear and it’s off to a shower by candlelight. (Cheap, fragrant and romantic…what isn’t to like?)

Playing overhead is the album Christmas Hymns by Paul Cardall. Darling, if you ever find yourself beset by the return of winter’s melancholy and in need of something to underwrite your Christmas blues, these songs offer a companionable solace. And yes you’re quite right, sometimes I am too comfortable reverting to my sighs and sadness. I have every reason to be a little lonesome…and yet, no reason at all. I need to be reminded of both those truths sometimes.

I should be praying as I shower, but instead I’m composing this letter to you in my head.

There’s a fine line between needs and wants sometimes. By most standards, I’m flourishing under the blessings of the Lord. Someone may argue I could easily reach the end of my days without having ever had you by my side. I may even be happy. They also say not to seek someone for completion or dependence. Marriage is mutual and complementary, but without it, I won’t die.

Well now, don’t the scribes and scholars tell us a man unmarried will die sooner? Doesn’t the Word tells us that finding a spouse comes from the favor of the Lord? Maybe I’m doing it wrong, but I think I shall be looking for someone to complete me, and on whom I can depend. I’ve never yet trusted someone so completely as to lean on them and trust them not to fall — not even myself. I know that even I will let myself down if I trust myself too much. But God made us to need  — or is it want? — each other, and there is no shame in the confession. I’ve never yet found someone who aspired to be that person…or who seemed to feel that she needed me in return. But I think anything less than a love which shamelessly needs me and requires my attention, which will fight for me and cultivate in me the same response, is not worth my time.

We all need to be loved. We need to be listened to, cared for, adored, needed. Maslow says we even need sex.There is a sleepless appetite which does not disagree.

We need also the practical needs to be filled. There are deadlines to be reminded about, bills to pay, meals to make. We need new ideas, different perspectives and conflicting preferences. We need someone to tend, guard, fret about, someone with whom to fight, and dream and share the popcorn. We all need someone to take to bed, someone tuck us in when we’re sick or to wake us when the alarm doesn’t go off.

We need someone to make us be our best, and feel and look and act our best. Someone to guide us on all those subjectives we toy around with. Do I like this perfume? Do you like that tie? Are these towels too ugly, and what kind of dog should we get? What shall we name it? Hardwood floors or carpet? I’m letting my hair and beard grow out for convenience (no matter how many times my family pointedly ask when I will be shaving) but as far as I’m concerned, this is nearly as much your decision as mine.

You and I have had to cope without all of these things for a very long time. And when those around us continually settle in with their temporary beloveds, sometimes it does make us wonder what we missed…and where the line is between patience and torture. “Better to have loved and lost than never loved at all,” they say. I ask this question often enough of both the forlorn and the fortunate, but there seems to be little consensus. If starvation is checked by one hearty meal, is it a kindness or a cruelty?

I do “need” you…unapologetically. You are among the many bright hopes I have for the coming year. So I hope you will stay strong as we alternate trudging and sprinting towards that wonderful finish line of each other’s arms.

I hope to find out a little more of the story behind those letters in the attic. They seem to promise stories, secrets and antiquity — a concoction you know I can’t resist — and a story that includes love, romance and a secret marriage!

Goodnight my dear. Look for me under mistletoe, behind snowflakes and next to the shadows cast by the flickering candlelight. And perhaps next to the Christmas close-out bargain bins tomorrow.

Love, cheer and Christmas kisses,
Beren

December 27, 2013 Posted by | Holidays, Loneliness, Questions | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

If You Want To Win Me Over…

03. Borsos, Jozsef - The Dissatisfied Painter (Crisis in the Life of a Painter),1852

“And who would have thought that you’d be the one
That I would have found here waiting?
Lost in this night until you arrived
And always too blind to see;
And who would have thought that after this time
That I’d be the one you’re saving?”

Dear Darling,

People — including wives — once had very strict ideas about what a wife’s duty was; little more than to support her husband. I’m hardly so chauvinist as to think that is the sole purpose of womankind, and yet, would it be so chauvinist if I also held that belief’s opposite, that my primary purpose on this earth is to love, support, serve and provide for you and our family? In society’s haste to loose women from the chains which bound them, look at what we’ve done to our world. It was only fair to set men free from their obligation as well, and the bond of family itself is unraveling. We overturned kindness and compassion, restraint and charity along with it.

Society notwithstanding, my obligations are and must always be to serve God, and to serve my family…to serve you. Up to and including laying down my life.

Have you ever given thought to your obligations, or how you might win me over?

If you ever wondered how to win me over, start by being kind. You needn’t be a model or an astrophysicist. You needn’t even be altogether impervious and strong. Man, after all, feels a little diminished in his purpose if there is no one for whom he can be brave. Just be kind. Be loving, compassionate, supportive, nurturing. If you set out to win a man’s heart, start by becoming indispensable. Be a fountain of refreshment and retreat, someone who is safe and encouraging. Such a fountain will seldom fail to draw a man in, if for no other reason than to be intrigued by such a nurturing soul.

If someone showed me that kind of gentle, consistent support and grace, it would go far to win me over. But it seems no one of comparable worth ever made such an effort. And it’s sad, because I feel my walls rebuilding, and redoubling at such a speed as to leave gaps. Loneliness contemplates strange ambitions within those gaps.

One of the things I do when I’m bored is scroll back through my texts to see who I haven’t texted in a while, who should be checked in on, who needs encouraging. I could use friends who reach out to check in, just to show they’re thinking of me. I can’t help but look back over the people I’ve fought for, the people I’ve lifted up, and how they move on and leave you behind. Even those living under the provision of the Lord still need to be fought for. Think about Elijah. He was on an errand for the kingdom of heaven, but when he felt alone, he fled, collapsed and asked the Lord to take his life. The Lord fed him, stood him on his feet, showed him His power, and told him he wasn’t alone. I guess maybe I need someone to see that, to tell me that.

Especially tonight. I’m sick again. I’ve been sick a lot this year; it comes of burning the candle at both ends. I can’t tell you how it would warm the heart to have someone, a voice or a name from the past, reach back in and show tenderness and care. Is it selfish? Am I so selfish, who have stood at the ready to fight for you on so many occasions? Who have been supportive to so many, reached out in compassion to so many? When illness meets weariness and I am lain by the roadside, is it so wrong to wish a soul would come by, even unexpectedly, to help me up and stand beside me? Perhaps not; but apparently it is too much to ask, in the end.

Someone hooked a finger at me last night, pulling me aside in the crowd to tell me they wanted me to meet someone. I barely knew the woman that was asking, let alone the woman she recommended, but in the spirit of openness, I provided my number to hear her pitch. I began by asking what made her think we would be a good match, not knowing me. “Because you’d make such a cute couple,” was her reply. If it were only that simple.

Sometimes I’d like to show someone these letters, to give them a true understanding of this heart, of what they’re up against; to make them want to try harder; to show them what they missed. Sometimes I wish the Lady Kirche had seen them, and wonder what her response would have been. I know if I’d found a cache of love letters written by someone I was courting, it would be a game-changer. It would fill me with a desire to become that person, to be worthy of the one to whom the letters were written. But that would be like staging a death to witness one’s own funeral. Such an advanced preview wouldn’t be fair…would it?

Sometimes I feel like King David. He was a soldier and king, “a man after God’s own heart”, a warrior’s heart and a poet’s soul sharing the same body and destiny. He too poured out his soul, in psalm after psalm, alternating joy and anguish. He was unique to his day; men are seldom so honest. But then, he was also the leader of a band of rowdy men. It seems strange he made no efforts to convert them to God, yet God smiled upon him in his efforts. Maybe that’s a lesson. Sometimes I feel I should have been less conservative, lived a little more ragged. Life has taught me, most women don’t want someone who is good. They want someone good enough…someone even whom they can reform, but who is “bad” enough to excite them and feel a little wild.

Alagfast is gone all next week. I will enjoy the silence. And as of tonight, most of my Christmas shopping is done.

I should sleep. Daylight brooks no delay for saddened hearts.

Always,
Beren

November 10, 2013 Posted by | Loneliness, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment